First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts, Here’s a Menu for You

Entertain, Holidays, Holidays, Menu Ideas, Menus, Thanksgiving

First Timers Thanksgiving

Is this the year you’re finally hosting Thanksgiving? Perhaps your family has passed the legacy on to you, or you’re adopting a new tradition of hosting loved ones every year. Regardless, we’ve got the perfect menu planned for you. It includes all the Thanksgiving classics your family and friends love and expect: a crowd-pleasing stuffing, flavor-packed cranberry sauce and (of course) a showstopper of a centerpiece. What it doesn’t include? Anything too demanding of time or technique. In fact, we’ve included simplified, pared-down versions of some of the dishes to account for some wiggle room in case your dinner prep schedule starts to fall behind. If it does, don’t worry: we’ve all been there. (Serve appetizers, blast music and keep the drinks flowing!)

Our First-Time Thanksgiving Menu

Dungeness Crab Toast with AvocadoDungeness Crab Toast with Avocado


To start, whet guests’ appetites with something that’s creamy, salty, tangy and slightly spicy—but not so heavy they won’t have room for the whole meal. To make this even easier, purchase pickled peppers at the store and slice them yourself. You can even prepare the toast ahead.



Classic Roast TurkeyClassic Roast Turkey


For your very first turkey, aim for elegant simplicity. This turkey is minimalist perfection: buttery and crispy on the outside with a succulent interior.

Easy Turkey Gravy


Gravy seems like a simple dish—and it mostly is—but it can be a bit of a stressor when you’ve never made it before and the pressure’s on to make it happen as the turkey’s coming out of the oven. Prevent that kind of stress by leaning on our Turkey Gravy Base, which allows you to make the dish ahead.

Garlic-Thyme Smashed PotatoesGarlic-Thyme Smashed Potatoes


Potatoes are a classic. Ease the pressure to compete with everybody’s mother’s mashed potatoes by serving a smashed version instead. Bonus: No ricer, food mill or masher needed!




Ginger-Citrus Cranberry Compote


The most difficult thing you have to do for this 20-minute dish to come together is to zest and juice a single orange.


Green Bean BundlesGreen Bean Bundles with Bacon and Brown Sugar


This is one of our most popular recipes of all time, and for good reason: It’s beautiful and delicious. Wrapping the bacon around the beans is gratifying kitchen task; employ little helpers in the kitchen if you have them.

Dressing with Bacon and Leeks

Crunchy Bread Dressing with Bacon and Leeks


Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, you’ll agree on this: our crunchy version with bacon and leeks is delicious. It’s also infinitely adaptable based on what you have: use onions in place of leeks, ham in place of bacon, and so forth.

Easy Pumpkin PieEasy Pumpkin Pie


If you just make one dessert, ensure it’s a classic, like this pumpkin pie. Pie novices, take note: You can make the dough and partially bake the pie shell in advance.

Not your first Thanksgiving? Get more Thanksgiving menus here, and check out our exhaustive Thanksgiving Guide for advice on roasting turkey, setting the table, how to be a great guest and more. 


2 comments about “First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts, Here’s a Menu for You

  1. Last-Minute Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving - Recipes

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